New dinosaur species
A species of dinosaur has been found in the outback of Australia, a giant creature that roamed the Earth amost one hundred million years ago. It’s already been given a name, one derived from the couple who discovered it and the land it was found upon.
Some 40 fossilized bones of the Savannasaurus Elliottorum dinosaur, a sauropod, that lived 95 million years ago, were found on a sheep station in central Queensland, Australia. It was named the Savannasaurus Elliottorum because the landscape it was found on is a savannah and the owners of the sheep station, who discovered the fossils, is a couple named David and Judy Elliot.
The Savannasaurus Elliottorum is a member of the titanosaurs genus, herbivores who are believed to have evolved out of South America. It’s related to the brontosaurus (meaning “thunder lizard”), first discovered in Wyoming by famed paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh in 1879; the brontosaurus could weigh up to 15 tonnes.
Those 40 fossilized bones from a single dinosaur make this discovery the most complete sauropod skeleton ever found in Australia. It was written about in the most recent edition of the journal Scientific Reports, which came out on Thursday.
Dinosaurs in the outback
The outback of Australia has produced a plethora of dinosaur discoveries and David Elliot is a keen member of the paleontology community in the region; he runs the Australian Age of Dinosaurs museum, located in the same area as his sheep station, and he and his wife, Judy, know what they are looking for.
It was Judy who came across two bones her husband had found and fitted them together, realizing they were fossils from a single sauropod toe. That was in 2006 and the two, along with other scientists and volunteers, have been excavating the site since. They have excavated 20 percent of the 12 to 15 metre Savannasaurus Elliottorum.
Sauropods are known as ‘gentle giants’ and primarlily lived on plants and seeds. The Savannasaurus Elliottorum had very long necks and four thick, stocky legs.